Of course, none of these characters belong to me. That would be a horrible day to every single fan out there, considering what I do to them already. The lyrics are Because Of You, from Kelly Clarkson.

Because Of You

I will not make

The same mistakes that you did

He had done it again. Gaz pretended to barely spare her brother a glance as he staggered into the house. He looked as if he had been beaten up badly this time, unlike all the other times he went to Zim's house. Dib used the same excuses, excuses of capturing the alien, but she did not believe it anymore. Despite what Dib wanted her to think she knew. Dib had finally realized the inevitable, that with Zim gone he would be left with nothing. Gaz could not even bring herself to say "I told you so," though she had said so many times before that he should leave the green one alone.

She had watched her brother deteriorate over the past month, after he had finally gotten Zim in captivity. Gir, of course, came to break his master free, but it was only because Dib had shut himself up in his room, arguing with himself whether he should call the authorities or not about the alien he had in his basement.

I will not let myself

Cause my heart so much misery

"He throw you out?" Gaz asked, playing the part she normally did when he walked through the door.

"Yeah, but I managed to download some information of his race off his computer," Dib told her, his voice unusually flat.

Gaz looked up from her game. The mention of new information used to make Dib ecstatic, despite the mood he usually was in lately. But this time it did not seem to be making that same impression.

"Nice. I got the college letter I was waiting for, they've accepted me," Gaz held up the proof, with the picture of a computer on it. Her ticket to freedom, a game designer school. School, not school. Finally, a literal place.

"That's great Gaz," Dib smiled, which made Gaz feel that she had accomplished something for the day. She hated that feeling, considering she enjoyed making people run for their lives. Including him.

Especially him.

"You should send out your letters this year Dib," she urged him, trying to pretend as if it did not matter. He did not do it last year, because Zim did not seem to understand people would be leaving for college. "They won't be accepting for that much longer before the new year begins."

"Maybe later," he waved it off as he headed towards the stairs.

"Did you even write those letters?" Gaz stood up, putting her GS on the couch.

"No, I don't think I'll go to college this year," Dib's voice faded away as he ascended the stairs into his room.

I will not break

The way you did, you fell so hard

Gaz walked over to the table to where Dib had set down the discs that he had stolen. She gathered them all up to take to her room. If Dib came downstairs and saw it again, he would mostly be inclined to burn them or something, just to be on the same level as Zim. Just to have another excuse. It seemed the only reason he took anything away from Zim was just to get him mad. It was too bad Zim did not notice what was going on, but then again, why would he care? He would just try to take advantage over the situation. Like always.

She went to her room to drop off the files in her closet, now a personal place set aside to the things Dib brought back. Gaz glanced through the files, making sure they were all there for when Dib would want them back. Whenever that would be.

"Whatever happened to becoming a paranormal investigator?" she asked herself. Back when he had those dreams, she was allowed to be herself. Now, she just could not afford that in her fear she would push Dib too far over the edge. As much as she hated him, she did not want her big brother to kill himself, whether deliberately or from strung out nerves. She did not want him to even hurt himself. That was suppose to be her job.

She remembered the time she was not scared, and the time when that changed.

I've learned the hard way

To never let it get that far

Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mysteries (what a stupid name for a show) had started. Gaz was grumbling as she went upstairs to find Dib. He never missed his favorite show, so she suspected that he was busy with a new plan to 'annihilate' Zim. She did not want to have to hear him complain about missing it later.

"Dib! Get your lazy butt down here!" she shouted as she reached the top step. As he did not answer, Gaz opened his door to forcibly drag him out.

He was sitting on his bed, staring at his hands, almost seeming as if he were fascinated by them.

"Dib..." Gaz snarled.

"Gaz," Dib looked up at her. "Have you ever wondered... what death is like?"

"Not really," she shrugged. "It comes. And it'll come to you sooner if you don't get downstairs and watch your dumb show!"

"I wonder. How is the concept of pain when it finally has an absolute ending...?"

"Unless there's a hell," Gaz snorted.

"I always wanted that of Zim..." Dib moved the piece of metal in his hands to let it catch the light.

Breath caught in Gaz's throat as she realized what it was.


"Not that I'd do anything, I never do," Dib set aside the pocket knife Gaz had gotten him as a 'oh, yeah, it's your birthday... here, take this' present. "But it doesn't stop me from being curious."

"You'll die in the end anyways," Gaz growled. "So why don't you wait until your body has enough of you?"

"Kinda like how you're always rejecting my big head, right?" Dib sighed, standing up. He was much taller then her now, towering over her with 5'10'' to her 5'3''. "Got it Gaz." He passed by her. She had kept her face impassive, though it felt as if something had just grabbed her guts and was twisting them around.

"Argh! It's the Navajo Skin walkers special!"

And she calmed down just to become annoyed again. Just a passing fancy of death. Gaz shook her head as if to shake the thoughts out of it. She had one right now, she had had it for years, but not aiming it towards herself. Just to be careful though, she took the knife back. Dib would probably not think twice about it.

Because of you

I never stray too far from the sidewalk

"I don't think that we're lucky they decided to change the Skool into the Mid-Skool, despite what anyone says. What do you think?"

"Don't you think it's strange that they had changed the Mid-Skool into the Hi-Skool just as we were supposed to be switching?" asked Gaz, during another attempt to get Dib to start talking so she could just ask him to shut up again, like normal, as they were passing their old skool. They stayed in that building for all twelve years of regular schooling.

"I guess," Dib shrugged, "Never really understood anything that happened in that skool. Except that everybody was a complete imbecile!"

Thank you, if there is anyone up there, Gaz thought to the sky.

"I wonder what it was that made me think otherwise," Dib muttered.

"Most people wouldn't take it too easily that their race is a bunch of complete morons," Gaz easily slipped back into her old demeanor, pressing the buttons on her Game Slave IX.

"But I'm not most people!" Dib exclaimed, folding his arms in front of him. "I shouldv'e been able to figure it out..." Slowly, turned back into his silent self.

Gaz inwardly sighed as she continued to poke at her game's buttons. There was only so much she could do in a day.

"Any idea why dad tells you to go shopping, but then tells me that I have to go watch you?" Dib asked suddenly.

"S'always been like that," Gaz shrugged. "Doesn't matter that we're not in Hi-Skool. But you're right, I should stay home and you should do the groceries."

"That would make more sense," Dib nodded as he turned to cross the street. "Then we wouldn't have to both waste our time buying food when neither of us eat at home much anyways."

"Dib!" Gaz barked at him, yanking him back on the sidewalk. "Watch the damn street!"

"Oh?" Dib blinking, as he watched the car go by. "Oh. Thank Gaz."

Gaz grumbled something she hoped was inaudible as the crosswalk light turned green for them.

"Why don't you care anymore...?"

Because of you

I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt

"Don't hide, I know you're there. And come over here. I won't bite you, stupid. I'm the one with the first aid kit."

Dib opened the door again (after he had quietly shut it when he realized she was there) and walked over to her. He looked as if he didn't care, but Gaz would have been damned if that long gash on his arm did not hurt. She moved his sleeve and started to clean the blood off, pretending not to notice when Dib flinched in pain. She was not going to ask what, she wasn't going to let the words, 'what happened?' escape her lips. If Dib had wanted to tell her, he would have spilled it already. There was always the chance that he might decide to say something, but she doubted it.

"Fell," Dib finally bit out. Gaz knew it was the only explanation that she was going to get. He would tell her, if she asked, but she had done enough for him already. She did not think that it would be fair to her to have to be a complete comfort zone for him. She did not want that. It would not work that way, they were too different.

She tightly wrapped it, receiving a gasp in response. "I'll redo it tomorrow... maybe," she muttered, turning away from him, half hoping he heard her, half hoping he had not.

"Thanks Gaz," Dib's voice came from behind her as he walked away. As soon as his footsteps disappeared, Gaz turned on the kitchen sink and fiercely scrubbed at her arms and hands, trying to remove all sight, smell, feel, of the blood from her.

She would not cry, but lately blood had started to frighten her.

Because of you

I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me

"Sorry I'm late... I... I thought I saw a Mongolian Death Worm... which doesn't make any sense, considering we aren't near a desert or anything..."

"Just sit down," Gaz managed not to sigh. "Dad can't make it home anyway, so it's just the two of us." Gaz knew the excuse was very lame, as far away from the desert as they were. Dib noticed that he obviously had not fooled her.

"But her promised he would make it this time!" he exclaimed, sitting down slowly.

"You know Dad. 'Sorry son! Something just filled in this night, very important REAL SCIENCE! So don't mind waiting for me!'" Gaz picked up her soda and drank it, hoping it would get the bad taste of mimicking their father out of her mouth.

Dib stared at her. "Don't do that again."

"I'll do what I want to, Dib," she retorted, inwardly pleased that he was acting like himself again.

"Guess we're not going out then," Dib went over to the refrigerator door and started to look through it.

"Ordered pizza," Gaz said simply. Dib shut the cold door and sat down again, again very carefully.

"Sprain you ankle while chasing your worm of death?" Gaz peered suspiciously under the table at his foot.

"No!" Dib shouted. "I mean... yeah, just a bit..."

Gaz gave out a throaty growl as she yanked his leg to pull him and his chair by hers. She saw him bite his tongue to stay quiet.

Damn it, Dib, she barely was able to refrain herself from shouting at him. "Why do you keep lying to me?"

"It's not that bad!" he gingerly pulled his leg out of her grip. Gaz just looked at him, she knew the difference between a healthy leg and a mangled muscle.

"Your tough act is not scoring you any points here." He ignored her, looking at the newspaper on the table.

How can I trust you anymore?

Gaz wanted to scream.

Because of you

I am afraid

I lose my way

And it's not too long before you point it out

It had been a long time since he had told Gaz he was going to spy at Zim's house. Dib had started to think that maybe he should tell Gaz what was going on, but it was obvious that she already knew. She kept silent about it though, as she did right now sitting by him on the couch, which he was most grateful for. He was not sure exactly what he would, or could, say to her if she did break forward with it. He silently wondered at her protective ways, knowing how she could not care as much as she was making it out to be. Her actions were most likely caused by confusion. Dib shook his head. Even if he did tell her, there was no way she would understand.

"Dib, if you don't stop spacing off and watch your show, I'm going to turn the T.V. Off."

Dib decided not to respond to that as he turned his eyes back to the television. It's only the last five minutes, Dib desperately wanted to argue back, but again he didn't feel like wasting the effort of telling her so.

I can not cry

Because I know that's weakness in your eyes

"I'm going out," he stood up, carefully so that none of the injuries that he had practically made Zim give him would not show.

"And come back a mangled mess?" she raised a questioning eyebrow. "Why not just stay home?"

"Because I have things that need to be done," he frowned at her more apparent resistance as he opened the front door.

"Yeah, and I'm bologna."

That one hit a sore spot, as Dib floundered to come back with any line, only to stay silent. His sister put down her GS and looked over the couch at him, as if she was waiting for it.

Why did this have to happen? Dib kept his eyes at the same level as hers, willing himself not to let it hurt, Gaz most likely expecting it. Why couldn't I have found something else to obsess over that I could live without? I hate Zim's guts! I wish I could kill him! So, why does it hurt to think of what would happen afterward? He knew the answer, he was kept so intrigued and interested with stopping Zim he had started to not really care about the respect and glory he would get from anyone else. In a laughing way, Zim respected him, just as Dib respected Zim. He knew now Zim had orders to take the planet, so he was only doing his job. Just as Dib was doing his job protecting the people of earth, who in retrospect had always cared less about him.

"Fine," he shut the front door, without going out, cause Gaz to eye him over one last time before going back to her game.

I'm forced to fake

A smile, a laugh everyday of my life

"I wrote those letters, you know," Gaz said absently over the noise of her game. "Just in case you change your mind."

Dib stared at her for a bit, trying to think of what she was talking about. "You mean... the college applications?"

"Yeah," Gaz was trying to look as if she was paying avid attention to her game, but Dib could tell she was studying his form. She... cares. It was an odd thought. It scared him somewhat. All of the times before, when he would have killed to have Gaz to help him, to care, she never had. Now that she was, he would have given almost anything for her to not. Almost anything. He turned to face her, a small smile on his face, what he knew she wanted to see. "Thanks Gaz, I'll look 'em over and see which ones I want to send."

"If any," snorted Gaz, but he could tell by her tone she was pleased all the same.

My heart can't possibly break

When it wasn't even whole to start with

"How does it feel Zim, to be on the weaker side for once?" Dib taunted his enemy through the special glass he had encased him in.

Not that Zim was really listening, proven from all of the muffled curses and shouts from the other side. It was an interesting mixture of languages, Dib understood a few like English, Russian, and German, and it was colourful to say the least. He wondered whether Zim's original language was in that rant, another pang of sadness ripping through him. He shook his head, trying to bring back his resolve that he had many years ago. The resolve when he finally caught his fatal enemy.

"Wait for it Zim," he sneered at him, keeping his face free from any of his other thoughts. "The officials will be here and then they will not be able to deny your existence!" he turned and started up the stairs from the basement.

"I won't be here long, Dib-beast! YOU wait!" Zim had shouted back at him, but as soon as Dib had closed the door he heard everything go quiet. So, he really did not have any hope of escaping after all.

Dib grabbed the phone and started to dial the number, when he thought about it again. How could Zim have no hope? He saw Gaz looking over at him and used it as an excuse to take the phone up into his room to call the authorities. But before he even got there he knew his answer.

Because of you

I never stray too far from the sidewalk

"Watch the damn street!"

Dib made sure to watch the street very carefully as he and Gaz crossed. Every once in a while, Gaz would glance over at him as if he had gone out on purpose, which was not true, he just was not noticing all that much anymore. He was not stupid either, if he had actually wanted to kill himself in a car accident he would have done it in his own car, or at least when Gaz was not around.

"What did Dad ask us specifically to get?" Dib muttered, out loud to himself, but the way Gaz was recently she most likely thought that it was directed towards her.

"Toast?" Gaz put her game in her pocket.

"Don't you mean bread?" Dib sighed, shaking his head.

"No. Dad meant bread, but what I meant was toast, because that is what he said."

Dib nearly laughed. It took his father, the so-called smartest person in the world, to go and ask his children to buy toast. He fiddled with the long handled knife in his pocket. "Well then, do you think we should tell him that the store's out of toast?"

"I guess we could tell him that," Gaz shrugged.

"Great," Dib turned in a different direction. "You can go home then." He ran off before she could argue with him. Off to Zim's house.

Because of you

I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt

He shut the door softly, hoping that she had not realized he was there.

"Don't hide, I know you're there. And come over here, I won't bite you, considering I'm the one with the first aid kit."

He walked over to her, trying to make it seem as if the wound he had gotten on his arm did not hurt. He had pretty much asked for it, as he was teasing Zim to no end about his lousy communication systems. The only reason they were so lousy was because he had trashed them beforehand. Gaz moved his sleeve and started to clean off the blood, which made Dib clench in pain. He tried to stay still, but he could not help the movement when she poured on the alcohol. She was not going to ask what happened, she never did, and they both knew it. Dib did not want to bother her when it was of the highest probability that she did not want to hear it. But, just in case she did, he knew he owed her an explanation

However short it might be.

"Fell," Dib finally bit out.

Gaz did not seem to care for his single word. Dib waited for her question, the one he would have to answer. If she wanted to know. The way she had been acting recently, it made him think she did care and for that he desperately wanted her to ask him.

She stayed quiet.

He gasped as she tightly wound the bandage around his left arm. "I'll redo it tomorrow... maybe," she muttered, turning away from him.

"Thanks Gaz," he would have attempted a smile, except she was not looking at him, so it would not have made any difference. Dib wondered why Gaz did not complain about all of the blood that she got on her clothes when she bound him, but she was talking just as much as he.

Because of you

I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me

"Sorry I'm late... I... I thought I saw a Mongolian Death Worm... which doesn't make any sense, considering we aren't near a desert or anything..." he nervously hoped Gaz would not question it, or notice his leg.

"Just sit down," Gaz said in her normal tone. "Dad can't make it home anyway, so it's just the two of us." He knew he had not fooled her, that was what the tone in her voice always told him.

"But he promised he would make it this time!" he exclaimed, sitting down slowly.

"You know Dad, 'Sorry son! Something just filled in this night, very important REAL SCIENCE! So don't mind waiting for me!'"

Dib stared at her, unable to comprehend what she had just said. Or, more particularly, how she had said it. "Don't do that again."

"I'll do what I want to, Dib," she retorted, making Dib mentally note to avoid anything that would cause his sister to quote their father in the future.

"Guess we're not going out then," Dib went over to the refrigerator door and started to look through it.

"Ordered pizza," Gaz said simply. Dib shut the cold door and sat down again, the pain becoming worse.

"Sprain you ankle while chasing your worm of death?" Gaz peered suspiciously under the table at his foot.

"No!" Dib shouted. "I mean... yeah, just a bit..." Then he paused, realizing he had doomed himself.

Gaz growled as she yanked his leg to pull him and his chair by hers. He bit his tongue to try and stay quiet. "Why do you keep lying to me?"

Lying? He thought. I'm just trying to keep you away from this part of me Gaz, because it's really ugly. Don't you understand? "It's not that bad!" he gingerly pulled his leg out of her grip.

"Your tough act is not scoring you any points here."

He ignored her, looking at the newspaper on the table. I can't trust you with this Gaz, I can't trust anyone with my self-inflicted pain. It wouldn't be fair to you.

Because of you

I am afraid

I watched you die

I heard you cry every night in your sleep

I was so young

You should have known better than to lean on me

Her angry shouts had never stopped before, when they were younger. She remembered making Dib cry often when they were children, just because she could. It did not change in skool, but by that time she had gotten tired of bothering. Now, as she heard him now, not from any cause of hers, it made her shiver.

How can this hurt? Half of the time she wanted him to suffer. He had depended on her for so long, without her ever wanting if. What sibling would make his younger sister deal with this? Gaz thought to herself, conveniently forgetting that back then it did not make that big of an impact on her. Her fist was paused, hanging in front of the door, as she contemplated with herself.

"Stop that Dib," Gaz finally said, the shudder in her voice only apparent to herself. Gaz cursed herself, but sounding cold was her job. Someone around here had to be stable. Only one more racking sob was heard from beyond the door. Either he had gotten a hold of himself, or he had silenced himself for good. Whichever it turned out to be, could wait until morning.

You never thought of anyone else

You just saw your pain

And now I cry in the middle of the night

For the same damn thing

For the sake of my sanity, I know now she doesn't care, Dib smeared the tears off his face. I don't know how I'd deal with it if she did.

Because of you

I never stray too far from the sidewalk

Because of you

I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt

"Open the door," she called hoarsely in the rain.

Not being able to stand it anymore, Gaz went to the source of the problem, only to find all of the lights off and no-one answering as she knocked. Zim was not home. Where he could be, Gaz had no clue, though it probably had something to do with a new plan to conquer earth. Since Dib was still at home, Gaz took it as a sign he did not know about it. It would stay that way, for she knew that Zim would end up ruining his own plan anyway.

"Why am I doing this?" she shouted at the strange green house. "Why is it? And why am I talking to myself? That was Dib's problem!"

"Just mine?" came a soft voice behind her. Gaz wheeled around to see Dib, huddled in his coat instead of an umbrella like she was.

"Why are you here now?" Gaz hoped the rain could be used as an excuse for her face. She still had not shed a tear.

"Checking on Zim, like I always do at this hour," Dib shrugged. "I thought you knew. I know you're not stupid."

"Then why do you treat me like I am?" she nearly shrieked at him. "Just because I don't know the things you did never meant that I didn't understand when you told me things I didn't want to know!"

"I didn't want to drag you into the mess I've made of my life."

"Dib, goddammit, I'm your sister!" She shook her head in disgust. "Whether I want to or not, which I can assure you I don't, I am a part of your life!"

Because of you

I try my hardest just to forget everything

I knew that, but it can't help me from want to forget. Dib smiled at her sadly, causing her to respond with a glare. "If Zim's robot isn't here, it means he has probably left the base to repair itself and has gone for supplies. At least, the supplies his leaders wouldn't send him."

"You're not even listening to a word I'm saying," Gaz's voice had returned to it's normal level, but so dangerous Dib was certain that it was trying to strangle the Shadowhog in his own dimension.

"Probably not," Dib shrugged further into his coat. "But that's how it's always been, I wouldn't listen to you when you told me to leave you alone, and you wouldn't listen to me when I felt like I would kill myself if one more person told me to shut up. That would solve the problem of my mouth running on end, wouldn't it?"

Because of you

I don't know how to let anyone else it

Gaz stepped forward an punched him in the stomach, causing him to cough and bend over, clutching the offended area. "Well, you'll listen to me now. I'm tired of taking care of you! If you catch that damn alien, just let him go again. He'll get more intelligent and maybe he could take over the world. Now do I have your attention?"

Because of you

I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty

Dib stared at her, still bent over holding his stomach. "I don't know how I missed it." He sat down on the soaked grass in front of Zim's house, for the gnomes had already been put out of their misery by Gaz.

"Missed what?" Gaz seriously thought of putting Dib through the same routine as the lawn ornaments.

"I couldn't make up my mind until you punched me," he looked up at her. "You really do care, as much as you'd say no."

"Because I don't," she scoffed, raising her fist to punch him again.

Because of you

I am afraid

"Of course. You know, I can think clearly now," Dib stood up, knowing he had completely stumped his sister.

Gaz rose an eyebrow, wondering what he understood and how she snapped him into it. Then it hit her, as clearly as his revelation came to him.

"Why did you come to Zim's?"

"I don't know, ask someone else," Gaz frowned, not wanting to reply. "So, after Zim again?"

"I can't allow him to take over earth!" Dib exclaimed, as if she were crazy.

"Of course... as if he's capable," Gaz shrugged. Why didn't she take this seriously? Dib frowned back at her. "See you later Dib. Better go inside and catch up on his next evil plan, or something."

"Yeah," he smiled at her, the first true smile she had seen for ages. "Later Gaz."

"Get out of my face," she waved off, whipping out her game. She watched from the corner of her eyes as Dib ran to find some way in the house, then she sighed as she headed back home. She was just asking for it, now he would be bugging her again.

Because of you

Because of you

"Spend anymore time with you boyfriend?"

"Wha-? He's not- How could you think th- Gaz!"

"What? Don't make me tear your mouth off. I'm on the last level."

"Okay... okay... sorry... sheesh..."